Over the course of the last 10 years of working with people (and myself) on personal development and coaching, I found great value in principles that simplified situations and broke down complex problems into navigable, workable solutions. One of the most important of these principles was that of Empowerment.
As I got better as an instructor and coach I went from seeing the details of problems people would bring me to the underlying causes. In relation to the topic at hand, I eventually learned to pay attention to how, when, and where my clients would get empowered or dis-empowered and what that told me about how I needed to work with them or even about Empowerment as a phenomenon and how it worked.
For a full discussion on Empowerment, you can listen to my podcast episode here.
I use Empowerment as a guide because it is my gold standard for maintaining social interactions and measuring qualitative results. It is a baseline that I can always come back to, and when it comes to clearing out our Spiritual Pipes it is all about letting the power flow.
Recently, I’ve condensed all of my experiences from competing as a professional athlete and working with clients on empowering their lives into a workable system for personal development that I call The Seven Transformations. It is a system designed for “Spiritual Plumbing” — the clearing of your metaphorical energetic pipes of leaks and blockages that are draining your power so that you can create a life you love.
Energy is nothing new to me from my experiences in competitive ballroom dancing and, when I got inspired to write a book, I realized that the Seven Chakras were a simple and powerful tool that I could use to create a system of developing my own self-awareness (as well as of those who I worked with) to discover the situations and people that were robbing the power they wanted in their lives.
I call it Spiritual Plumbing. Why? Because empowerment, chakras and all those states of being like confidence, self-expression, peace, creativity and so on work just like pipes do — they can either get a leak or clog up, but when they are free and clear life is great.
It’s a simple metaphor but, like any good metaphor, it’s very effective.
The Seven Transformations are a useful structure for evaluating how you are losing power in a situation or relationship because they allow you to identify the action needed to remedy the leak or clog. There is nothing more dis-empowering than wanting a solution but being unable to create one, especially if it is due to your own ignorance or lack of resources.
So, I gathered my life experiences and came up with something that is effective, simple and — I think — very empowering.
Let’s take the 1st Transformation, for example, which is based on the first chakra. I call it “The Roots of Peace” because that energy center deals with areas of Trust and Control. Once we know the general domain of an energy center, we can understand how leaks and clogs will show up in the world, as well as what it means to have a free and clear “space” or flowing pipe in that area.
This intuitive system gives you a way to categorize and identify myriads of problems and some potential solutions without having to over-analyze anything because it is based on power. Either you are losing power due to excess or imbalanced behavior in one area (a leak in your pipe) or you are lacking power because it is not coming through due to repression of some kind (a clog in your pipe).
To continue our example — if the energy center that governs things like trust, control, safety and so on is working properly then what would that experience be like? My word is “Peace,” and this is the experience of free and clear energy in the 1st Transformation, or when we are empowered at this centered.
Now what if energy is leaking from your pipe at that center, then what would that experience be like?
This is an external manifestation of power being lost so it shows up in the world as pre-occupation, anxiety, trying to needlessly control situations and people and so on. Your attention and energy is basically too much outside of you and as a result you are dis-empowered.
Likewise, if you’ve got a clog and energy is “stuck”, that means things like trusting others, wrestling with self-doubt, lack of faith or patience and deep shame may be gobbling up your reserves of power before they ever get through.
When we let go of trying to control others or situations, when we practice mindfulness to ward off anxiety, when we are patient to build our sense of faith and cure doubt, when we let go of the shame and fear that is driving our social interactions and instead opt for listening and being present — isn’t that empowering?
If I would dance with someone and, for example, notice that they grip really hard and don’t let me lead them — these are telltale signs of control being out of whack. Solution? Go slow, focus on mindful touch, being present, breathing and so on. Dial back the leak and, sure enough, the person will begin to be present and be less pre-occupied (unless it’s really bad).
They will slowly stop losing power through that center and instead maintain it, experiencing Peace — the 1st Transformation.
A few more observations to confirm my initial ones and, within one session, it’s pretty easy to see where a lot of the leaks and clogs are because, honestly, we all have them in one form or another. That is why I call them The Seven Transformations — because they are continued transformations that we must maintain in order to keep those pipes free and clear through Spiritual Plumbing.
So what’s the answer? As simply as you would fix the pipes in your house by diagnosing what the problem is, you can do so in your spirit as well.
If a pipe has a leak, you patch the leak. If it has a clog, you take the clog out with some kind of effort. One is patching up the flow with something supportive, the other is pushing it through or opening it up so it can move.
This works for energy and empowerment in the same exact way.
In Spiritual Plumbing we don’t actually have physical pipes to work with so we have to think in terms of energy. Things either go outward or they go inward, and what patching leaks and clearing clogs comes down to in the spiritual realm are the golden practices of Awareness and Vulnerability.
Every personal growth experience or transformation boils down to some form of vulnerability or practice of awareness. Why? There is a simple explanation if we consider these words for what they imply energetically.
Vulnerability is the practice of opening up, letting what is inside come to the surface. This practice is at the root of many things like self-expression, courage, forgiveness, sensuality and a few others. All of those are clears to clogs of our pipes because vulnerability is how you clear a clog .
If something is blocked you, well, open it up.
Let’s take the second chakra as another example. It’s domain is Sexuality and Creation — it is the seed of our creative energy. A healthy section of the pipe in this area will show up as pursuing your passions, channeling your creative energy into productive means, living a sensual and mindful life and healthy sense of sexuality and self-love.
My word for the 2nd Transformation is “Creativity” because if one is empowered at this level it means that their creative energy is in alignment to their gifts and passions.
So now let’s do some plumbing. What would a blockage in the area of Sexuality mean? Repression, shame, desensitization, loss of creativity and so on. How would Vulnerability clear this clog? People with clogs in this area benefit from practices that develop sensuality and a healthy sense of sexuality, that inspire them to try their hand at creative pursuits to discover their passion and so on.
By opening themselves up to whatever is blocked, their pipe can be cleared and life empowered again.
What about if we had a leak? You can figure this one out yourself. Negative sexual relationships, abuse, addictions, over-stimulation. Too much power coming out of your sexual center is never a good thing despite how awesome it may sound.
We must employ Awareness to patch these leaks up. Why? Awareness is, energetically, the opposite to Vulnerability — it zeroes in on something, distinguishes it and separates it.
Awareness is about exercising our conscious control, about closing and organizing what is too loose and scattered. It is the patch we need for our leaks. In this case, Awareness at this level means discipline, creative work, mindfulness (to combat over-stimulation) learning to create healthy connections with others (addiction’s #1 cause is lack of connection) and so on.
So, there you have it. Be your own Spiritual Plumber and learn to find the leaks and clogs in your power line by studying energy and empowerment and honing your practices of Awareness and Vulnerability.
For a full discussion and review on this topic, you can listen to the podcast episode here.
These are the basics of Spiritual Plumbing as I have detailed them in my upcoming book, The Seven Transformations. It all works through the principle of Empowerment by finding how the power is leaving your body and using your Awareness and Vulnerability to address the issue at every level of concern in its own specific way.